Worden Township, Clark Co., WI

Contributed by Jean Ketterhagen

Transcribed by Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon


Garfield School was located in Sec. 5, Worden Twp., Clark Co., WI.



Much rural school history has been lost, but the records for the Garfield School in the town of Worden have been retained. Its history no doubt, is much like that of other rural schools.

The number of the district would indicate that at the time of its formation the town of Worden was a thickly settled community. This, however, was not the case as was shown by the tally list of its first town election where forty voters were recorded and every voter came out to vote that day. It must be remembered, however, that women were not permitted to vote in those days.

District No. 7 was organized from territory in what was then the town of Thorp. There were only three schoolhouses in Worden when, this district was established by the town board in 1890.

The first meeting of the new district was held at the Chas. Sye house, later known as the Paul Haase farm, on July 7, 1890, with Mrs. M Craif as chairman of the meeting. The first school board elected consisted of Hans Banderob, director; Charles Sye, treasurer; Ole Samuelson, clerk. The board was authorized to borrow five hundred dollars from the State Trust Fund to build a schoolhouse and equip it. Ole Krogan’s bid of four hundred and thirty dollars was accepted, and he was ordered to build the school. He was given an additional fifteen dollars to clear the land around the building. The school ground of one acre was bought from Charles Sye for the sum of twenty-five dollars. School was to be held six months a year, and the sum of one hundred and eight dollars was voted to be raised, for the teacher’s wages. Such wages were not to exceed thirty dollars per month.


President James Garfield

20th President (1881-1881)

Known as "The Preacher President", he was taught the love of God by his mother in their log cabin home, his religious faith and love for his country supported him all through his life.  It was his faith and patriotism that carried him into the Civil War to battle against slavery.  Shortly after the war ended, he calmed a crazed mob in New York City with his courageous and hopeful words.  When he laid in with two assassin's bullets eroding his body, his only comment about the man who shot him was, "he must be insane.  Why should he want to kill me?"


District No. 7 was (in later years) named the Garfield School in memory of the martyred U.S. President, James Garfield. It was built just six years after the first Stanley school.

In 1890 the fall term of school started with four pupils who were residents of the district and three non-resident students. The four resident students were Ida Baumgarten, Mary Baumgarten, Minnie Sye and Helena Sye. By 1904, however, there were sixty-seven resident scholars enrolled. By 1911 the length of the school term had been changed from six or eight months to a mine month school year. Later school census shows that at one time over one hundred children between the ages of four and twenty were listed on the rolls.

In 1894 the school board found it necessary to pass a resolution compelling children to speak no other language than English when school was in session.

If the pupils today had to submit to the conditions, which often appeared in pioneer communities, they would find them an unpleasant surprise. Most of the pioneer youngsters had to travel on foot for long distances through mud or snowdrifts and arrive at a poorly ventilated and poorly equipped little schoolhouse heated with a box stove. Here the little fellow who could not push his way in close to the stove would shiver, and the big fellow who was close to the stove would roast from the heat.

When the original part of the present schoolhouse was first erected, it was placed on substantial white oak posts, and the floor of the building was two to four feet above the ground. On blistering hot days at the end of the spring term the boys found the space beneath the school and ideal place to spend noon hours and recess. The honorable school board spoiled this fun by putting up a very substantial concrete foundation under the building. In 1902 a flagpole was erected. In 1912, the belfry was built, and a new hardwood floor was laid. In 1925 the school building was painted at the cost of twenty-five dollars.

The Garfield Mother’s Club, which was active for many years, was the first of its kind organized in Clark County. First meeting on record was held September 26, 1919.

In 1931 a petition was circulated to have a well drilled on the school ground. Until that time the teachers contracts had stated the teacher was to provide drinking water for the students.

50th Anniversary of the Garfield School, Worden Twp., 1940 (click on the photo to enlarge it)


Teachers Attendance: Anna (Grisvold) Hillman, Inez (Edwards) Leninger, Cora (Vanderloop) Henke, George Soderberg, Thersea (Berg) Larson, Gladys (Anderson) Huus, Olga Elton (Myjre).



In 1940 the school celebrated its fiftieth anniversary. Nearly two hundred and fifty former students, teachers and friends met on the school grounds to renew friendships.

Riverview district consolidated with Garfield in 1954.

In 1960, we celebrated the 70th anniversary.

Application was approved on Sept. 6, 1938 for electricity by the R E A and hooked up soon after that.

During the 70 years of existence of the Garfield School there have been 33 teachers. Following is a listing of these teachers:

Mary Tormey 1890-91
Julia Tormey 1891-94
Alice Baker Notman 1894-98 – 1901-02
Alma Rhea Lien 1898-1900
Dena Howard 1900-01
Mary Verkuilen Harris 1902-08
Hannah Peterson 1908-10
Cora Vanderloop Henke 1910-11
Silvia Kaudy Dawson 1911-12
Nora Hatfield Samplawski 1912-13
Anna Gisvold Hillman 1913-15
Theresa Berg Larson 1915-16
Julia McCaffery Ehlert 1916-19
Olga Elton Myhre 1919-20
Abbie Pitt 1920-21
Philomena Kepple 1921-23
Gladys Anderson Huus 1923-25 – 1926-27
Catherine Knar Gahan 1925-26 – 1928-29
Olga Thorson Roth 1927-28
Ethel Reineke Bauers 1929-30
George Soderberg 1930-35
Arnold F Anderson 1935-36
Margaret Laurent 1936-37
Inez Edward Linengar 1937-41
Evangeline Sheets 1941-42
Grayce Wiles 1942-47
Joyce Flora Samuelson 1947-49
Lorraine Peterson Dorski 1949-50
Theo Shorey Erickson 1950-51
Christine Millus Jankoski 1951-55
Lois Manley Isenberger 1955-56
Marie Langel Swatzina 1956-59
Nathale Freese 1959-61

The first clerk of Garfield School was Ole Samuelson starting in 1890. He served on the board for nineteen years. Other clerks were: John May (1910-12); Mrs. Ole Samuelson (1912-43); Mrs. Imbert Qualheim (1943-54); Mrs. Murnie Anderson (1954-60).

Recognition was given to former directors and treasurers. Many had served without pay. Following is a list of Directors of Garfield School:

Hans Banderrob 1890-97
Wm. Schneider 1898-99
Ole Johnson 1900-14
Theo Heiting 1914-15
Henry Driessen 1915-26
Nels Larson 1926-48
Lawrence Thompson 1948-52
Art Samuelson 1952-60

Following is a list of the school treasurers:

Charles Sye 1890-95
Jacob Lauer 1896-99
Barney Micke 1900-01
Henry Vanderloop 1901-31
Aaron Martalock 1932-42
Annie Anderson 1942-59
Mrs. David Erickson 1960
Mrs. Tony Gruba 1960

For some families there were three generations who received part of their education at this little country school. These families were:

Olga (Thompson) Corwin, Coldene Corwin Wold and Mark Wold, Annie (Johnson) Anderson and Karen & Bryan Anderson, Cora (Vanderloop) Henke, Phyllis (Henke) Johnson and Dale & Dean Johnson

This little country school brings back a lot of happy memories and perhaps some sad for a lot of us. But all good things come to an end. This school also has, because we consolidated with Stanley in 1960, but remained open until 1961.

In 1991 we will celebrate our 101st reunion on August 17 at the Rod & Gun Club building at Chapman Park in Stanley.

Hope to see many old friends and classmates.

Committee members and pictures furnished by the following:

Alva Samuelson, Helen (Kane) Swim, Mildred (Hasase) VanDenheuvel, Jean (Thompson) Ketterhagen, John Pozdell, Donald Henke, and Phyllis (Henke) Johnson




School: Worden Twp., Garfield School wins plaque (11 Apr 1940)


----Source: Greenwood Gleaner, Greenwood, Wis.; Thursday 11 Apr 1940


The Garfield School in the town of Worden, with an enrollment of 17 pupils, won the plaque offered in 1939 for the highest per capita Christmas Seal Sale in Clark County.

Miss Inez Edwards is the teacher. The pupils, teacher, and the school patrons of the Garfield District are to be congratulated for winning this fine award.




The 14th teacher listed, Olga Elton Myhre, lived just south on the NE corner of Broek and Copenhaver Rd of today. My parents purchased the 80 from her and that is where my earliest memories originate. In turn, the farm was subsequently sold to Don and Linda Hakes, who still reside there and farm with their oldest son, Shawn.  Ethan Searce




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